It seems getting a dog is becoming the Social Norm much like getting married and having kids. Many places you go there is a dog at almost every house on the street. If all of your neighbours have a dog, should you have a dog too?
Your lifestyle will play a very key role in whether or not you should have a dog. Here is a good question to ask:
Would you be happy living your dog's life everyday?
If a person works all day and has little spare time then the dog may not get much exercise and mental stimulation. Dogs are one of the few animals you can get that truly love to work, although there are breeds that are pretty laid back and like to lounge around all day. They may make a better choice if the person doesn’t have much spare time. On the other hand some people that don’t have a lot of time for their dog enroll them in Doggy Daycare or have a Dog Walker exercise them which can also help meet a dog’s needs. The key is to ensure the dog lives a happy life.
Here are a few of the Pros and Cons of getting a dog.
Forever Home -
Active Lifestyle -
Mental Stimulation -
Breed Promotion -
Puppy Mills -
Frustration, Stress & Anger -
Time Intensive -
Lawsuits and Fights with Neighbours -
Having a dog is one of our favorite parts of life but it is not for everyone. We waited many years before we knew it was time for us to get a dog even though we really wanted one. It is important that you understand all of the Cons that can happen so you can prepare yourself so that they never happen. In the case of dogs Ignorance is not Bliss.
Having a dog is one of the most enjoyable things in life. Not all times in life are conducive to having a dog. If it doesn’t feel like the right time or life is really busy then later on might be a better time.
Getting a dog based on looks is the most popular method for choosing a dog. This is also the result of a lot of training problems later on. Many people do not know that dogs were bred for specific jobs and have natural drives to do those jobs. Being a family companion is also a job. The job the dog was originally bred for may not be conducive to being a family pet. The most important advice we can give:
Decide what you want your dog to do. How much energy should they have. What temperament is best suited for you. What will their day be comprised of?
Once you know this you should then decide what dog best suits these traits. Find a rescue or a breeder that can provide you with a dog like this. Then choose based on looks last.
This would be similar to choosing a spouse, someone you want as a life partner. You could pick someone that is the most attractive guy or girl in the world but what if they were mean to you, stole from you, bankrupted you, cheated on you and caused you all kinds of stress. Wouldn’t it be better to say I want these traits in a spouse and then choose the one you find most attractive with those traits? If you are patient and wait long enough you can find the jackpot of a partner that has everything you are looking for.
Too much of the money dog trainers make is when things go bad with dogs. It would be great if a Dog Trainer’s job was to take a naturally well suited dog and person / family and help them become a phenomenally well suited dog and person / family.
Take out a sheet of paper and write out the pros and cons for yourself and be honest with your current position, not what you hope to have in the future.
How much time do you have to spend with your dog? (2 hours a day as a minimum is recommended) When you first get them you will need to have extra time for training and socialization.
How active are you? Choosing the proper energy level in a dog to match your lifestyle is very important. We may have good intentions to get out and exercise our dog but old habits can kick in where the dog doesn’t get as much time as they need. Getting a dog to match your lifestyle really helps.
What is your budget? If you are getting a dog that is more active than you can be with your dog, some people are spending $1000 a month in doggy daycare, food and grooming and this does not include any veterinary bills or emergencies. Some emergencies can run you $4000 right from the start and go up from there. Do you have funds saved for this? If not, can you afford pet insurance?
How often do you travel? Who will look after your dog if you are away? Do you have money to pay for a dog sitter if you do not have anyone who can look after your dog?
How big is your vehicle? Some people may get a large breed dog and realize they do not have enough space for travel and need to upgrade the size of their vehicle which can mean more insurance, more fuel and more maintenance.
How big is your house and yard? We know of people who have sold their condo to buy a home because they needed more room for their dog. These are all things to keep in mind when getting a dog.
As dog trainers, we have to fix a lot of problems. We see these exact same problems over and over again. The purpose of this website is to prevent problems. “Don’t put your hand in that crocodiles mouth.” “Don’t pet that rattlesnake.” “Don’t play with matches near the gas pump.” These are common known things to avoid. With any luck many dog problems will also become common known problems to avoid.